The Boxer Rebellion may not be a house hold name but they’ve certainly had their fair share of success. When second album Union was first released, digitally only, it briefly outsold both Coldplay and Kings of Leon on the US itunes chart. They’re hoping this physical release will propel them into the public eye proper and with a sound this grand it would be a travesty if they didn’t succeed.
Union opens with pounding drums and a simple acappella verse. By the end of first song "Flashing Red Light Means Go" we have an epic, atmospheric sound, fronted by singer Nathan Nicholson's breathtaking falsetto. And that's exactly what The Boxer Rebellion are all about. Starting off simple and low key, each song grows and grows until it transforms into a stadium filling anthem.
Unfortunately, not every song is as effective as "Flashing Red Light Means Go". On occasion the band seem to take advantage of Nathan's vocals, throwing them in when they're simply unnecessary. “Misplaced”, for example, could have been one of the stronger tracks on the album had it not been for the final minute or so of high pitched vocals that made it a relentlessly difficult listen.
However, when The Boxer Rebellion are on form, they’re REALLY on form. “Forces” is a definite highlight of the album, it’s almost Editors-esque with soaring guitars, Nathan’s perfect vocals and some truly impressive drumming from Piers Hewitt.
An unfortunate trend that seems to occur throughout the album is a lack of depth to the lyrics but to be honest with music like this the lyrics can easily be overlooked. This is a solid second album from The Boxer Rebellion with some flashes of genius thrown in for good measure. At times you'd be forgiven for thinking this is the album Coldplay have been trying to make for the past few years.